Put on your behaved faces, everyone. Today we get to meet Janet Kay Jensen, author and woman of awesome. Her book, Gabriel's Daughter, is going to take the world by storm next month.
Now we shall put Janet through the gambit that is my 10 random questions about life, the universe, and her book.
1-What did you have for breakfast this morning? What did you wish you had had for breakfast?
I like to have fresh fruit or a smoothie for breakfast. This morning, however? I had a piece of Praline-vanilla fudge made by the Cox Honey Company here in Cache Valley. It is heavenly fudge. And, after all, it’s two days before Christmas as I write this, so I’m entitled.
2-What is your favorite morning ritual? If appropriate. If not, please make something up.
Being greeted by Gus, my BorderBeagle, is a favorite morning ritual. He’s just so happy to see anybody, and he’s unconditional in his love and affection.
3-What is your favorite color, and would it look good on your favorite car?
I am drawn to blue but I’ve never had a blue car. I did rent a darling little blue Fiat and loved driving it. I’m not a car person, so that was surprising. I loved how small and compact and convenient it was, but I doubt it could hold its own in a collision.
4-When was the last time you played with Legos? Inquiring minds want to know.
I’ve quit asking Santa for the original pirate ship, because he never took me seriously. This was long before the Pirates of the Caribbean movies---it was just plain Lego fabulous. I built a lot of castles with my boys, but I’d have to say I haven’t really played with Legos for about 20 years. I want to visit LegoLand again, though! Those creations are amazing. Creativity at its best.
5-Since it is the holidays, do you have any fun, holiday traditions that you love?
We have a Christmas Eve family party at our home and we always play Balderdash. Last year, even the Finns participated. Their English was quite good. I’m not so sure about playing it this year, as we will have a guest from Mexico who doesn’t speak English….I think we’ll have to pull out a few of the nonverbal games.
6-Name three of your favorite books. Just to see if you like to read fluffy or not so fluffy stories.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Ethan Frome, A Separate Peace
7-Your book deals with some heavy topics, what draws you to them? Why not unicorns and glitter?
Others do unicorns and glitter so well. Hmm. I really don’t know why I’ve felt drawn to serious topics. It’s a challenge to write realistic characters who struggle with real problems, but I also like to toss in a bit of humor.
8-Polygomy is a hot topic right now. Let’s say you’re a sister wife or whatever. In your mind, what is the biggest advantage and disadvantage to it?
Sister wives say they share the responsibilities, so I would assume I wouldn’t be head cook….I don’t think there would be any privacy in these large families. And I wouldn’t be good at sharing a husband. On the other hand, some plural wives say putting up with a husband once a week is quite enough. Frankly, I think the other wives would probably vote me out of the compound.
9-What is it about your book that you love? What drew you to write it? (This is the part where you dazzle us with the awesomeness that is your story) Feel free to go on and on. How did you come to write this particular book or series?
Long after high school, I became aware that one of my classmates had been raised in a polygamous family. I never knew this about him in high school; he was a handsome, serious, quiet student. Years later, I saw him interviewed on television, and his family was featured several times in newspaper articles.
Then my husband and I drove through Hilldale, Utah, a polygamous community, and although the red dirt roads were empty we knew people were watching us from behind their curtains. We could feel the hostility they have toward nosy outsiders, and a few little children dashed into their houses when they saw us. The cemetery had its own stories to tell, and those stayed with me.
I began to do a lot of research and I read a number of books about polygamy, both fiction and nonfiction.Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys was published first; Gabriel’s Daughters is the stand-alone second. Zina’s story was originally included in early drafts of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. I began to write the stories of both Louisa and Zina in alternating chapters. That led to logistical problems as the events occur in different time periods. Zina’s story also began to take on greater significance and in fact threatened to take over the whole book. To do it justice, I had to pull it out and promise Zina her own book. She was very patient. Gabriel’s Daughters is her story.
There may be a third book sometime in the future. Louisa, Zina and Amy haven’t told all of their stories. We shall see.
10-What character in your book would you most like to have over to dinner and why?
Miss Lily Carolina Bates. She hails from Kentucky and is a Healer. She also talks to bees, rides a mule named Harold, gathers yarbs and other natural remedies in the forest, and is very wise. I’d ask her to fix some of her squash soup for me and then I’d listen to her tales of Johnny Appleseed (he was real) and Dumb Suppers.
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